Handheld music making gets its share of criticism and nose-upturning from “serious” digital musicians. Indeed, some of the apps hold up to a few minutes of casual use but fail to form that long-term relationship that makes us love musical tools and toys. Limitations can be good, but many of these tools aren’t open to from-scratch sound design. And when you get back to your desk, you’re often stuck with clumsy workflows like exporting to raw audio files – and that’s if you’re lucky; some applications even lack tools that basic.

Jasuto is different. Its graphical, modular interface is open-ended and powerful, but fun to play with for beginners and advanced users alike. The simplicity of its UI points the way for even desktop apps. Sounds are never restrictive, with access to to nearly-endless sound processing and synthesis capabilities. And once you’ve sketched something out on a mobile, you can still bring it into your “desktop” workflow by loading a VST plug-in for Mac and Windows, ensuring those on-the-bus sketches can evolve into finished tracks when you get back home.

Needless to say, it’s therefore very, very good news for Android owners that Jasuto is making it to the platform.

Some features are missing in this release – community browser, multitouch support, and mic input are forthcoming. But it’s already good fun to play with, and, thanks to the fact that Android Market users are (cough) evidently whiney cheapskates, the cost is only two bucks! I’ve just bought it myself, and hope that playing with this when I hit Heathrow Airport tomorrow cures my jetlag; I’ll report back.

Jasuto is in the Android Marketplace and on the Jasuto site
Forum announcement (as seen on the mobile-dedicated music software site Palm Sound)

The Android platform isn’t without its disadvantages. Developer Chris Wolfe has already run into some classic problems – mediocre audio output performance with Android’s AudioTrack API, multitouch inconsistencies, and weirdness dealing with something like mic input have presented hurdles.

That hasn’t stopped Jasuto from being workable now for end users, but speaking as an Android developer, I hope we can also band together and fix some of these issues. In the midst of passionate platform arguments online, it’s easy to forget: platforms improve. (Heck, remember when Apple claimed the Safari browser was their “SDK”? Or early versions of iPhone with rampant app crashes?) But waiting for improvements isn’t enough; if you care about a platform, you have to invest time to help ensure they happen, particularly when the OS is marketed as open. Stay tuned.

But if you have been considering developing for Android, and you have a device (or a friend) handy, you owe it to yourself to give Jasuto a go. Let us know how you fare.

Note: yes, I need to do a full-blown Android round-up shortly; this is just to get the ball rolling.

  • http://www.iancanderson.net Ian C. Anderson

    Wow. Can't believe no one's commented on this. I'm totally jazzed up for modular synth Android power!!!

  • cebec

    Wow, more impressive than I imagined!

  • Emmanuel

    OH MY GOD Android roxx so ON

  • andrew zero

    i just bought a new ipod touch 32g for messing with the music apps. now i have to go get a droid device too :(

    this is one of the best looking ones ive seen by far.

  • http://ww.jhhl.net/iPhone Jhhl

    Jasuto is fun – has been available on the iPhone for a few months now.It's not yet adapted to the iPad, but like a lot of iPhone apps, it works better on there anyway because of the higher speed and bigger screen. Its interface is suspiciously similar to the interface for the ReacTable, which doesn't necessarily make it a bad thing. After all, think of how many interfaces use little virtual wires to connect their sound processing objects? It also allows you to record the movements of the on screen objects.

  • http://www.PatternMusic.com RichardL@PatternMusi

    This is awesome news. Well done Chris Wolfe.

    (Now if we could gets some Android devices with large screens. I know they're coming.)

  • http://www.exodub.com Kyran

    I'd buy this in a heartbeat, unfortunately google doesn't deem Belgium worthy enough to buy stuff on their android market. I can only download the freebies.

  • shamburglar

    Finally! Been waiting for a decent android music app! YES!

  • http://www.myspace.com/fsl1138muisc FSK1138

    Android will take over the world on app at a time — only reason i want a ipad is a few of the music apps – like KORG iElectribe if more music apps come out for android, the ipad will be pointless –for me —

    you can get a multitouch tablet running android for under $300

  • http://durkkooistra.com Durk

    Great peter! Really looking forward to some more android goodies, or maybe even a google tab next to WIN & MAC :)

  • aaron

    Wish they'd get the VST update going.. it was posted almost a year ago year and it is still extremely buggy and the import/export features have yet to be implemented.

  • aaron

    FSK1138 : no doubt.. if the Android apps and updates keep getting better as they have been (lets be honest, the market/devs follow the $ and Androids marketshare is rapidly growing), I will buy this ASAP: http://www.alwaysinnovating.com/touchbook/

    Been looking @ it ever since it was announced. Awesome product. The Tablet + keyboard is only 399 ;]]

  • :/

    "mediocre audio output performance with Android’s AudioTrack API, multitouch inconsistencies, and weirdness dealing with something like mic input have presented hurdles."

    Well, it *is* based on Linux…

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  • Guy

    @aaron i have one of the Always Innovating touchbooks. It boots into android fine but most of the dev stuff i've been doing has been python based on the Angstrom based AI stock OS. Is a bit sluggish at times, somewhat clunky, the resistive touchscreen means no multi touch and when a better tablet comes along i'll pick one up, but for the moment its pretty good and useful.

    The early version i got has a few other niggling things but these have been fixed in recent hardware revisions i believe

  • http://www.myspace.com/fsl1138muisc FSK1138

    aaron: http://www.alwaysinnovating.com/touchbook/ been looking at that for a while ;) !

    - i think next year ,when the ipad hype is over and ver1(ipad) drops to ~$375used there will a whole bunch of cheap multitouch tablets -new and used- on the market- the mouse will be as useful as a floppy disk

    ————————————–

    - 3d touch-less gestures(like ironman 2!) will be the next big thing.

  • Radian

    It's not so much that we're cheapskates but that Google Checkout is a crapfest.

  • http://reverbrick@art.pl ReverbRick

    ehhh makes me pissed off as paid market is locked in PL and I have problems to unlock it on my hero….time for rooting. Thanks for sharing.

  • Foosnark

    Oooooh.

  • http://fallsastar.com Foosnark

    In case this wasn't obvious to everyone: this does not perform acceptably on the G1.

    I'm not refunding it anyway, just to support the project… and the glitchy stuttery noises it makes are going to be useful somehow. :D

  • http://noisemakers.info Michael Chenetz

    Android is in desperate need of some audio apps! It looks like Froyo will be the start to better SDK/NDK.

  • http://phylumsinter.matterwave.net/ c. todd [phylum_sint

    works beautifully on the droid. Now for some way to pipe osc through it.

  • evan

    Just got the evo and this was the first paid app I got. Takes some getting used to but I can see it being good fun. Runs pretty well on it but I could see it running not so well on phones a year or two old as I managed to get a CPU overload warning in it on the evo without too much effort

  • lushr

    someone needs to be working on these APIs and fast. iPhone's aren't perfect, but they are far more advanced currently, and no digital muso is going to switch from iPhone to Android until Android gets some decent APIs… whether they can with the wildly varying hardware is unknown.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @lushr: Android's APIs are fine, and Android hardware is in fact not "wildly varying" (because of certification associated with Market). The issue is that a) Android hasn't had a whole lot of developers banging away on it in audio because they've been busy with iPhone and b) quality on handset *drivers* has been sometimes variable. (Drivers != APIs.)

    At least both those situations are getting better. Sit tight. Just be aware, it's not an API thing. More like under-the-hood performance improvements from Google and handset makers.

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